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This week, Open Book Society reviewer Alina, is back with an all new exclusive interview with Maria E. Schneider author of Soul of the Desert. Here they talk about writing, fun facts about the Soul of the Desert characters, personal experiences, new projects, and more. Enjoy!


maria_e_schneider_authorAlina: What made you start writing?

Maria E. Schneider: I wanted to tell stories, and I had this absurd dream that I could somehow make a living if I just told enough stories!!!

Alina:  Was ‘Soul of the Desert’ your first novel?

Maria E. Schneider:The first novel that I completed was too short to publish back in the day. I call it and a few others my learning curve. Catch an Honest Thief, a fun desert caper with a dash of romance, was the first novel I finished that had the right elements for publication. After that novel, I decided to take writing more seriously, and I began writing a series. I wrote the first two books in the Sedona O’Hala humorous mystery series. Perhaps because of the humor in those, a more serious book called to me then. Soul of the Desert is the type of book my mother loves–a more serious tone, a lot of life experiences and a journey of the heart.

Alina: Where did you get the idea for Rand’s and Bo’s story?

Maria E. Schneider: I wanted to tell the story of what it was like growing up on a ranch in the middle of the desert. Capturing the isolation needed a character who could experience it first hand–from a totally different upbringing. Bo was born of the idea that if you escaped from a bad situation maybe you’d have a chance to be someone different, to chart your own path. Even I didn’t know what would happen to Bo or Rand when I began the story.

Alina: I believe you based the description of the farm in the novel on your parents’ farm in New Mexico. How was  living there for a girl?

Maria E. Schneider: Ranching and farming is a hard scrabble life. You have to have a bit of tomboy in you because girl or boy, the chores have to be done! Most of those chores require some muscle and dexterity. You don’t worry too much about being a boy or a girl–you  worry more about how you’re going to get the job done. Of course, the menfolk, such as brothers, like to point out your weaknesses. This just makes you stronger and more determined.

Alina: Is Christina’s character based on you?

Maria E. Schneider: There’s a little bit of me in most of my characters, and in Soul of the Desert, I am closest to Christina’s character. I left the ranch to make my way in the wider world, but I still feel the call of the desert.

Alina: Do you feel the call of the desert?

Maria E. Schneider: Once you know the desert, it never leaves you. It’s like a song. Even when you aren’t in the desert, you can still hear the music.

Alina:  Which is your favorite character in the novel?

Maria E. Schneider: The Man. He is the steadying force in the novel for most of the characters.

Alina: Your latest books are fantasies. How do realism and fantasy fit together in your works?

Maria E. Schneider: I love the idea of magic, but whether it’s fantasy or real life, it has to be logical. Even magic has to have rules and stay within boundaries. Magic doesn’t start where reality ends. It’s a blending of the two.

Alina: What are you working on right now?

Maria E. Schneider: Ah, you are after all my secrets! I’m pondering whether to write another Moon Shadow novel or another Sedona O’Hala caper.

  • Read our review for Soul of the Desert here at OBS.
  • For more information about the author and her books visit her at her Official Website here.


Thank you to author Maria E. Schneider for taking the time to chat with OBS and share with us an amazing interview!